Staff picks for the Flyers-Islanders series.
This is a series the Flyers can win if they get their forecheck back in gear, their big guns find the net, and their special teams rebound.
The Islanders are a difficult matchup, however. They have three good lines, a superb D, and the best coach in the NHL.
This has the makings of a great, low-scoring series between teams that have white-hot goalies.
Isles in 7.
Alain Vigneault said this was going to be a “greasy series.” That means get bodies in front, bounce pucks in the net off the other team’s defensemen, stay out of the penalty box and, for heaven’s sake, don’t take the overs.
The temptation is to pick the Islanders going off how they looked in their first two playoff series, but I wonder how much winning a playoff round for the first time in eight years will do for the Flyers’ core group. Jake Voracek found his game in the last series. Time for Claude Giroux to find his.
Flyers in 6.
Predictably, the Flyers muzzled the Canadiens in the first round, an offensively challenged team in the regular season whose potency in the NHL bubble did not appreciably improve. Alarmingly, the Islanders were an unimpressive offensive team before lockdown that got a half-goal per game better in Toronto.
This is bad news for the Flyers, who scored just 11 goals in six games against the Canadiens, and who now face a strong, disciplined defensive Islanders club that was 2-0-1 against them in the regular season. Still, the Flyers are due to explode. Their best scorers and their power play will finally be heard from.
Also: Carter Hart.
Flyers in 7.
The Islanders will test the Flyers’ patience, discipline, and structure more than even the Canadiens did. Barry Trotz’s team doesn’t score a lot, but it doesn’t give up a lot, either. The Flyers — goaltender Carter Hart, in particular — can’t afford to make too many mistakes.
Flyers in 7.